Bad News for Writers, Actors, Directors…

NBC is handing over the 10 p.m. hour, five-nights-a-week, to a talkshow hosted by Jay Leno. That's very bad news for guys like me who write episodic dramas. As Variety reports:

With 10 p.m. now filled by Leno – not to mention Sunday Night Football consuming four hours on Sunday and repeats on Saturday – NBC may program as few as ten hours of traditional primetime fare next fall. With some of those hours likely to be reality shows, there's not much room left for scripted fare.

[…]"What does this mean to my show?" asked one NBC exec producer almost
immediately after word of the Leno move leaked. Indeed, some shows may
wind up with shorter orders than the traditional 22 episode season, as
Peacock's needs may be less.

With cheap reality shows taking up more and more primetime real estate, and with writing staffs on dramas shrinking to cut costs, it's getting harder and harder for veteran TV writers to make a living…or for newcomers to break in.

6 thoughts on “Bad News for Writers, Actors, Directors…”

  1. Well, let’s see, what NBC shows do I watch now? NCIS? No, that’s CBS. L&O: CI? No, it’s on USA now. The Closer? TNT. Wait – Bones! No, that’s on Fox… Guess I don’t even watch NBC anymore. I didn’t notice, until they pointed it out to me.

  2. Law and Order and SVU are the only NBC shows I watch and they’ve been underwhelming this season.
    They don’t seem to care about quality dramas anymore, so why should I watch. I know that takes away market from you guys, but I don’t know what the answer is but ride it out.

  3. Plus NBC has 3 hours of the Today show on in the morning, and will probably go for a 4th in 17 months when they finally cancel Days of Our Lives. I guess I’m unusual in that I love to watch TV dramas, comedy, movies, miniseries. Are there that few of us in the world?

  4. Maybe you’re thinking a bit too inside-the-box, Lee. Yes, the nets are losing market share. Yes, reality shows are still on the rise. But there are more channels on TV than ever before, which gives unprecedented opportunity for new shows to get the green light. If scripted drama on the nets is in decline, then new genres will open up. The western faded out on the nets but new cops shows took over. I still think a reality show based on your everyday life would achieve a success and find its audience. Everybody is interested in Hollywood. Everybody watches TV. A large audience is interested in how to find success in Hollywood TV-ville.
    CANADA UPDATE: The leader of the Liberal (Democrat) Party has been replaced. A new leader has been installed. This gives the idea of taking over the government more credibility. The Conservatives (Republicans) will have to come up with a good stimulus package if they want to survive. Stay tuned!
    (I should be writing blurbs for TV GUIDE!)

  5. Well, CBS didn’t give Arthur Godfrey Quite that much primetime in the early ‘5s, but not too far behind, and then there was the quick burnout of WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? on ABC as a primetime juggernaut. NBC makes a Lot of money off TODAY and THE TONIGHT SHOW and Really didn’t want to have Leno on at 11:30p at ABC (nor, I suspect, did NIGHTLINE’s folks nor Jimmy Kimmel).
    But the effloresence of original drama serials on cable, I hope, helps scriptwriters muddle through…the ?lower pay and smaller orders might not, so much…
    NBC will presumbably be shedding the best current cop show, LIFE. A pity.


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